Police questioned a registered sex offender who was working as Santa Claus at a Texas fast-food restaurant, but he was not arrested.
Baytown police received a tip that 54-year-old Norman Burback was working at McDonald’s, where children sat on his lap and posed for photos, reported KPRC-TV.
Burbank was convicted in 1992 of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy in Ohio, and he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
He moved to Texas last year, authorities said.
Burbank was handcuffed and questioned, but police eventually let him go after determining he hadn’t broken any laws.
“Him putting on a Santa Claus costume and having children in his lap, however unsettling that is for parents to hear, it was not a violation of Texas law,” said Eric Freed, a police spokesman.
Sex offenders are not barred from being around children unless their parole or probation prohibits contact with minors, legal experts said.
“What’s right isn’t always legal, and what’s legal isn’t always right,” said legal analyst Brian Wice.
McDonald’s did not say whether Burbank underwent a background check before he was hired, but the company said in a statement that it was gathering evidence about the situation.
Watch this video report posted online by KPRC-TV: